As Facebook moves closer, users must move away

By Saketh Vasamsetti, Columnist

Facebook has recently been under a negative light following news that Cambridge Analytica, a U.K.-based political data firm, was given access by the social media giant to private information from millions of users.

Cambridge Analytica is a known sponsor of the 2016 Trump campaign and is under speculation for wrongfully abusing Facebook’s data to create psychographic profiles that aided in targeted ad placement.

For those who don’t know, the short version of what Cambridge Analytica does is help political campaigns reach potential voters.

In an effort to calm the outcry, Cambridge Analytica suspended its chief executive, Alexander Nix, who claimed in a recently surfaced video that the company has used seduction and bribery to gain the favor of political rivals.

However, the issue presses further than the ethical violations from Cambridge Analytica.

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Facebook is at the center of all this, with many asking why and how such an enormous amount of information was given to the company. This was all done without any background checks regarding how the information was being used.

CNN writer Kara Almaino suggests in her article, “Why Zuckerberg needs to testify before Congress,” that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg should testify in front of Congress to clear all speculation and to stay transparent.

At this point, it all seems like a game of pointing fingers. Facebook released a statement saying Cambridge Analytica lied to them regarding what the data would be used for, whereas Cambridge Analytica claims to have been transparent with the company.

Regardless, Facebook’s users are the ones left out. Facebook is quite literally the largest social media platform present. A constant flow of information paints our timelines, while the rest of it is kept online forever.

The source of Facebook’s power is the user, yet in situations like this, it seems the company doesn’t pay enough attention to its source.

Facebook’s database of information will always grow, and it’s seemingly impossible to take back what has already been posted on the site. The same holds true for basically everything on the internet.

It is unknown how these sites take care of their information, but we all know they’re vulnerable. Leaks have happened before and will happen again. It’s only a matter of time before they begin to release information that is increasingly threatening to society.

While one cannot just “protest” the internet, there are steps that can be taken to avoid similar situations. Perhaps the biggest step may be to just step further away.

Saketh is a sophomore in LAS.

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